Coach Ron McCown
Coach Ron McCown

He was one of the very first readers of this blog and became its most frequent commenter. I knew something was wrong when his comments stopped sometime before Christmas. Coach Ron McCown was a teacher. He was a mentor. He was an encourager. Most importantly, he was my friend. Coach passed peacefully from this life into the Church Triumphant this afternoon and is now worshipping Our Lord face to face.

My first encounter with Coach McCown was in 7th grade. He was one of the football coaches and I was a manager for the football team. On the field, he was boisterous and tough and sometimes pretty harsh. Off the field I don’t remember a moment when he wasn’t smiling and laughing. In high school I had Coach McCown for two classes, World Geography (World “Joggerfer” as he would say in his best East Texas accent) and then Psychology and Sociology. He was a great teacher! I still remember a lesson on the Phoenicians and their wooden boats sailing around the Mediterranean Sea — who remembers that 25 years later? Not many, but Coach had a way of teaching that made you listen and take notice and remember. Then in Psychology/Sociology my senior year, he had a friend of his come to class. The friend was a polygrapher — a guy who gives lie detector tests. Our whole class was absolutely enthralled and we all wanted to be guinea pigs that day. I don’t remember who he picked, but I do remember him joking with us that we were all teenagers and none of us could pass! That’s the kind of teacher he was and that’s why I’ll not soon forget those lessons.

Some years after graduating, our paths crossed again when he was asked to emcee the Miss Van Zandt County pageant and I was running sound. Just as I remembered from school, Coach McCown was light-hearted, funny and supportive of everyone in the pageant. On the second night of competition there was a snag in the schedule. The person set to be the “entertainment” while the girls were changing clothes between portions of the competition was not able to perform. I happened to have an accompaniment tape of “The Midnight Cry” in my truck. I went outside and got it and sang that song. From the coach’s reaction, you would’ve thought Pavarotti had just sung (it was far from it, I assure you). But, he gushed and gushed. At the end of the night he pulled me up on stage to sing it again. He never forgot about that and in the last few years he asked me over and over again to come sing it at his church. Because of my anxiety I was never able to do it. I regret that.

Most recently, Coach McCown has been an encourager par excellence! As I said at the beginning of this post, he was one of the very first readers here. From the onset, Coach read my work and pushed me not only to fight through this latest bout with anxiety and depression, but to continue writing. He offered wise counsel, sound advice and consistent inspiration. He never stopped teaching even all these years later. In one of his comments, after I’d taken some of his advice and learned a lesson, he referred to me (to all of his “students”) as his raison d’être, his “reason for existing.” He was just that kind of man. He had the heart and soul of a teacher and friend. We, his students, are the better for it.

I have lost friends before, but this loss is especially tough. I guess I didn’t realize how much I looked forward to and relied on his words until now. We don’t get many opportunities in life to experience real wisdom. Coach McCown gave those of us who were lucky enough to learn from him that chance. Oh, how I could have used some of that wisdom and encouragement these last few days. It was and will continue to be truly missed. His last comment on one of my posts exactly one month ago today read, “O my! How positively entertaining and informative. Well done, Jason.”

Coach, I know that you have heard those very words tonight, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Rest in peace, my friend!

…This one’s for you…

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

  1. Oh my Jason, I am sobbing uncontrollably right now,,,

    You described him so well…..

    Jason, I can’t begin to understand your emotions right now about your writing,
    1) because I have never been there
    2) because I write, just to see words on the screen for myself, for no one else

    your emotions for Coach are very transparent *not that you are, just that is a break through, and I’m acknowledging that with the anxiety and depression, sometimes to let other see this far into your soul, is so hard.

    I am so proud of you first off, for writing again… really writing… I loved your words… These were words that deserved to be said.

    Not the be callous, not to mock, but to mirror, because I agree 100%
    NEVER, stop writting, please!!! Well Done Jason!!
    Also
    Never, EVER stop singing!! Get it back! Do it for you… Then do it for those that love to hear you sing… Give THEM that blessing before another second passes through this life!

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    1. Laura, thank you. As one who values words so much I’m just at a loss tonight. Coach McCown deserves a far better and more eloquent tribute than I could ever hope to write. This is a sad day. As always, thank you for the encouragement.

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  2. Well said Jason! You basically said what sooo many others have said here tonight, just more eloquently! We all have the same feelings, but most of us just can’t put the feeling into those words! An amazing man who will be sorely missed, by so many……………

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    1. Hey Carolyn!

      I was thinking about you just the other day. I hope you’re well. Thank you for your very kind words. Coach meant so much to me. He was, as I told Crystal, one of those people who always seemed to be there when you needed a pat on the back or a kick in the butt! I think we’re all better for having known him. I miss him already. Again, thank you!

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  3. Jason,
    A proper tribute to a great man. He was always a friend. I remember the night Michael tore his ACL in football. Coach McCown was one of my spotters that night. I was engrossed in the action on the field and felt a big arm patting me on the shoulder. I immediately looked and saw Michael on the ground, holding his knee in pain. Coach McCown was one of the best encouragers I could have had. I didn’t know until the next morning how seriously he was injured. Coach McCown was always there at the right time for those he knew. He really knew what was going on. We will miss him dearly, but now he’s sheltered in the arms of our great God who loves us so much. He always has. He always will.

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    1. Thanks, Bro. Neale.

      You are so right when you say he was always there at the right time. I know that from my own personal experience. I never realized how much I appreciated him until the last few years when he has so consistently been here to encourage my writing and in my struggle with depression and anxiety. He was a rock and I am a better person for having known him! I think we all are.

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  4. Reblogged this on MEtopia and commented:

    This from almost three years ago to the day. I was talking to his daughter tonight and the memories came flooding back. I still miss him.

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    1. Amy, thank you! He was such an inspiration and friend to me. I miss him. It’s good to hear from you. I hope you all are doing well.

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